Chester FC: Returning striker Ross Hannah holds top seven ambitions

Published date: 10 July 2017 |
Published by: Charlie Croasdale
Read more articles by Charlie Croasdale

Ross Hannah 

ROSS HANNAH insists there is ‘no reason’ why Chester shouldn’t be considered play-off contenders this season.

The 31-year-old will pull on the Chester jersey for the first time tonight at Runcorn Town (7.30pm) since re-joining the Blues from Barrow on a two-year deal and is relishing the prospect of helping fire the club he holds close to his heart back up the National League table.

The Blues begin their campaign at Solihull Moors on August 5 and Hannah admits the squad will be 'raring to go’ for a busy first week which will also see newly-promoted AFC Fylde and Halifax Town visit the Swansway Chester Stadium.

Hannah is wary not to put ‘unnecessary pressure’ on his team-mates but feels a top seven push should be considered a ‘realisitic aim’ for the 2017/18 campaign.

“We don't want to get too carried away and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves,” said Hannah, who was limited to 10 starts at Barrow last term.

“The gaffer and the club have done a tremendous job in putting a squad together that not only has some talent but it has Conference experience too, which we’ve lacked in recent years, like when I was here last and last year it was a young squad too.

“A realistic target would be to kick on from the run the team were on until Christmas last year, but maintain that throughout the new year, and with the new play-off set up why can’t we think about sneaking into that top seven? There’s no reason why we shouldn’t.

“A good start is a big thing. You don’t have to go and win every game in the first month but a positive start sets you up moving forward.

“September is tough with travelling but we don’t know what those teams will be like and they don’t know what we’ll be like. The first three games are good games to really get our teeth into and come August 5 we’ll be ready and raring to go.”

Hannah bagged 25 goals for Chester during a prolific 2015/16 season under Steve Burr and ultimately Jon McCarthy, with the current boss taking over for the final four matches of the campaign, winning three of them to stave off relegation to National League North.

“It’s great to be back, it took a while to get over the line but I got the right result in the end,” he continued.

“It’s great to be back, playing football back amongst the lads. To be honest, I’ve not had to settle in. Since I’ve been back the lads I knew here before and other lads I’ve played with, it’s a great bunch and we’ve all settled in and it’s a good group already.

“I met some great people at Barrow, for whatever reason it didn’t work out for me there but that’s water under the bridge now.

“It wasn’t a hard decision (to come back). As soon as I knew of the gaffer’s interest really. There were a few things needed sorting at both ends and for myself and my family but when I get the phone call to say it was all done, I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to come and get signed up.”

Hannah now forms part of a quartet of first-team strikers alongside Harry White, James Akintunde and Nyal Bell, with Jordan Chapell and Nathan Brown also offering attacking options for boss McCarthy.

Hannah believes their differing attributes will hold them in good stead when the new campaign gets underway.

“I noticed straight away when we were doing separate striker work with Chris (Iwelumo) and it’s a good thing that we’ve got four good strikers,” he added.

“We bring something different, you can’t compare any of the four. I’ve got experience over the other three, we see that as a positive, I can pass things on to them and with their desire and talent they can certainly contribute to the squad and the team to having a successful season.

“Last season was frustrating for me. I needed a break mentally at the end but when I signed here, physically I was ready to start and wish we could’ve started the next day.

“The club is great and the people behind it. To experience the set-up, how it is now, the club has moved forward massively in two years. That’s partly down to the gaffer and it’s a great place to work.”

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